Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II April 2018

World War II magazine covers every aspect of history's greatest modern conflict with vivid, revealing, and evocative writing from top historians and journalists. Each issue provides a lively mix of stories about soldiers, leaders, tactics, weapons, and little-known incidents of the war, including riveting firsthand battle accounts and reviews of books, movies, and video games. And the most authoritative magazine on the war features a striking design that highlights rare, archival photographs and detailed battle maps to convey the drama and excitement of the most famous battles and campaigns.

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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

LEO BARRON (“Know Thy Enemy”) works for General Dynamics as an instructor of military intelligence officers. He has served with the 101st Airborne Division and completed two tours of active duty in Iraq as an infantry and intelligence officer. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in history, and has authored several books on General George S. Patton. His story draws from his latest, Patton’s First Victory: How General George Patton Turned the Tide in North Africa and Defeated the Afrika Korps at El Guettar, released this year. JESSICA WAMBACH BROWN (“Time Travel”) is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism and Hawaii Pacific University’s Master of Arts in Diplomacy and Military Studies program. She is a frequent contributor to World War II and writes about history and veterans’ affairs from…

6 min.
the man, myth, and legend

WHAT ON EARTH IMPELLED YOU to feature a Battle Films column on The Green Berets (“Invoking the ‘Good War,’” December 2017), starring one of the most egregious World War II draft dodgers, John Wayne? True, at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wayne was 34, his marriage was on the rocks, and he had four kids to support. But his career was also taking off largely due to his part in the 1939 western, Stagecoach. He had a choice: submit to fame and fortune, or show his patriotism by enlisting. Stars such as Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, and Clark Gable chose to serve. However, Wayne’s studio head, Herbert Yates, obtained a deferment for Wayne. Wayne went on to make 13 movies during the war, many depicting him in “tough guy”…

2 min.
another pass at a seven-decade old mystery

A RETIRED FBI AGENT is reopening the “ultimate cold case”—uncovering the informer who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis. Vincent Pankoke, who once battled Colombian drug smugglers and posed as a rich yachtsman to catch corrupt politicians, has come out of retirement to solve one of World War II’s lasting mysteries: finding out who led the Gestapo to the fugitive Frank family. After hiding for two years in an Amsterdam attic, the Jewish family—Anne, older sister Margot, father Otto, and mother Edith—were arrested in 1944. Anne, Margot, and Edith died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Anne was 15. Otto was incarcerated at Auschwitz until the Soviets liberated the camp in 1945; he was the only family member to survive. After the war, he found Anne’s diary, which was published in…

1 min.
resting place of the first in the fight

THE TIMING WAS IMPECCABLE. Researchers found the underwater wreck of the ship that fired the first American shot at Pearl Harbor on December 1, 2017—just six days before the 76th anniversary of the Japanese surprise attack on the U.S. naval base. The crew of the research vessel Petrel, financed by billionaire Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, located the destroyer USS Ward at the bottom of Ormoc Bay, just off the Philippine island of Leyte. Early on December 7, 1941, Ward, commanded by Lieutenant Commander William Outerbridge, was keeping watch at the entrance to Pearl Harbor when the crew spotted the periscope of a Japanese midget submarine tailing an American cargo ship. Ward’s number three gun fired on the 80-foot sub, striking it in the conning tower, before dropping depth charges. Its actions marked…

2 min.
long arm of justice

AGE WILL NOT KEEP the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz” out of a prison cell. In November 2017 a court in the northern German town of Celle ruled that 96-year-old Oskar Gröning was fit to do time regardless of his age. The prison, it said, could attend to his needs. Gröning has appealed the decision. In July 2015 Gröning was convicted of 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. He admitted to working at the Auschwitz death camp and witnessing the slaughter there, but said he never killed anyone. Trained as a bookkeeper, he counted and recorded the money and personal property the Nazis confiscated from prisoners. After being released from a British prison camp in 1947, Gröning stayed quiet about his wartime activities and worked until retirement at a glass factory in northwestern Germany. He…

1 min.
honoring those lost below the waves

FOR SUBMARINERS, there were so many ways to die. On December 10, 1941, Japanese bombers flying high over Manila Bay sank USS Sealion, the first American sub lost in World War II. USS Tang went down off the coast of Taiwan when one of its own torpedoes circled back on it, and USS S-26 was accidentally rammed by an American subchaser in the Gulf of Panama. Fifty-two American subs were lost during the war, taking more than 3,600 men with them. Now, those submariners on “eternal patrol” are getting a memo rial. The nonprofit Eternal Reefs (eternalreefs.com) is creating the first underwater memorial for the 66 American submarines lost since 1900—a list dominated by those who went down during World War II, mostly in the Pacific Theater. The dedication of the On Eternal Patrol…